95th ESA Annual Meeting (August 1 -- 6, 2010)

SS 18 - Understanding Threshold Changes and Regime Shifts under Climate Change: How Can Managers Respond?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
303-304, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Brenda Lin
Susan Julius
Anticipated changes in future climate patterns will affect many ecosystems, creating the potential for sudden, unanticipated shifts in ecosystem dynamics and posing challenges for management. This session will explore: (1) ways in which climate change may lead to shifts in ecosystems regimes, (2) methods for recognizing or anticipating thresholds exceedences, and (3) using these methods to slow or prevent threshold exceedences or to manage ecosystems toward different steady states once thresholds are exceeded. The session will be a panel discussion with scholars and practitioners experienced in the complexities of threshold effects and resource management under climatic changes. Four speakers will open with 20 minute presentations. The first two presentations will provide case study examples of observed regime shifts in ecosystems and the underlying causes. This information will be applied to resource management in two ways: (1) by exploring how threshold information can assist management responses to avoid thresholds and maintain or restore original ecosystem types, and (2) by exploring and developing general principles for recognizing thresholds, when they are unavoidable, and when managers may want to shift from restoring a highly debilitated ecosystem to supporting a smooth transition to a new ecosystem regime. Following the speakers, there will be a discussion regarding threshold effects and how our current understanding of them can be improved and more directly support management decisions. This session will foster a higher degree of communication and collaboration between ecologists and resource managers by providing a forum to think about thresholds from a scientific and management perspective.
8:15 PM
Toward a science of humans-in-nature: The role of pattern in assessing multi-scale vulnerability of natural capital
Giovanni Zurlini, University of Salento; I. Petrosillo, N/A; N. Zaccarelli, N/A
8:30 PM
Managing for thresholds changes in terrestrial systems
Katharine N. Suding, University of California at Berkeley
8:45 PM
See more of: Special Session